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Scalextric "Austin" Mini Cooper

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HI folk,

my latest "kitbash" are stripping and re-building/painting two 1965 Mini Coopers.

I had one of the original Scalextric ones in green with a beige interior and front wheel drive back in the mid '60's.... dog of a thing, tiny open frame motor and issues with getting the braid to sit on the rails without the tyres getting grip on the track... I practically destroyed it using "kid's" tools (pliers, screwdrivers and other very coarse and crude implements)... and it ended up as a parts body and what was left of the chassis.... pity, it would be a collector's item now.


I have been making cars for each member of my family, and thus far have produced a number of models that I actually liked... I asked each one which car they wanted - it it was available, I'd model it for them.

We've had 911 Porches, a Dodge Viper, a McLaren and my latest request was for (above anything else he could have asked for) - a Mini Cooper.... I was shocked - it certainly wouldn't have been my choice! not if the first one I had was anything to go on... 

Knowing he'd have trouble keeping up with the rest of the family on the track, I took sympathy - and ordered two..... the other one so that it could be placed as dedicated competition on a level playing field..... so, it now looks as if I'm paying attention to two models that I really don't want to attack yet..... 


Both of them came in what I consider to be "fugly".... silver roof with an annoyingly maroon/red body... some might like it, but not me.

For me - the "only" colour these little cars should be is British Racing Green with a white roof..... the other one has been asked to be sprayed SMS Pearl Ice with a silver roof (so, the roof is done for me with that model).

I started to strip the first one down - and continue to be disgusted on how these are assembled.... hot soldering iron or something on "fitted" parts.... which need to be ground out to remove them.... and stored.

I got down to the bare body, but it was a lot of work - some of the ornaments are tiny, and tedious work.... lights, badges, bumpers... the window comes away in two parts...

The interior is a shocker - heavy as all heck, but - the dash is very detailed and a credit to the person responsible for tooling it up.

I tried all sorts of solvents that were plastic safe to remove the paint..... and it took ages. From metho, brake fluid and SMS paint remover... I had to work and work to get the blasted red paint off.... the silver came away very easily - so, if you have one of these models, you might like to clear coat it with something like SMS Ultra Clear 2K... 

I used SMS etch primer, then white primer on the red plastic substrate of the model.... blocked the white primer back - and sprayed SMS white .... the red plastic "leached" through.... so, I had to block back again and spraye my favourite SMS grey primer on a little thicker - blocked down and sprayed SMS white top coats.... all good.

For the lower body, I used SMS black primer over the etch.... and two generous coats of SMS BRG.... it came up a treat.

I used Tamiya masking tape laid down on a sheet of glass then cut using a sharp scalpel.... giving me very sharp lines... the pix below do not do justice - they look terrible, but I am yet to block down the clear coat.... which will remove the over-spray of the masks.





Now - for the "trouble" part of the build.... the chassis.

Simply put - it's crap...... there is so much slop in the nylon rear axle mounts that they "float" around in it... the axles seem to be aluminum, but worse - the wheels have been pressed onto knurling ..... grrrr. Removing wheels from knurled axles - good luck.

I decided that I'd bite the bullet here and turn some aluminium wheels..... the smallest I have ever attempted.

Further, I decided (as I have done with other models with plastic wheels) I'd make a Pinkysil mould of the wheels, and turn down the castings from them to make inserts for the aluminium wheels.... 

My first attempt at turning such a small wheel was a failure - I destroyed all my good work getting the step and rim to spec when I tried to use my favourite tool for boring out the inside of the wheel for the insert.... 

I made up another boring tool by grinding yet another tungsten carbide cheapy down.... and went again - this time with success.

The mould and casts from it went really well.... 

I managed to get the second wheel done as I wanted, and am now on #3 (of 9, #1 was discarded).

With #3, I am changing my procudure... I set up the aluminium stock in the Mill and drill my grub screw hole to just short of where the axle will pass through. I then tap this hole to M2 and remove it for the lathe.

I fit up the milled rod into the lathe and turn down the O.D. then the outer rim - and then drill the axle hole.

Next I hand drill the remainder of the grub hole and tap it..... this avoids attempting to tap a hole half way between the inner rim diameter and the hub..... which tended to throw the tap to one side and go in "cocked".

Next... I bore the recess out of the front for the insert.... 

And then turn down the inner rim and finally hub.... and part it away from the stock rod.

The casting from my Pinkysil mould is then fitted up into the micro lathe I have inside the house - and I turn down casting to make a hub.

I reverse the cast and fit the hub into the lathe.. and turn down the casting to match the diameter with that of the recess in the aluminium wheel.... 

finally, I part the cast off to the width of the recess in the wheel... and it becomes a press fit into the wheel..... 

Ok, some pix. I love the wheels that Scalextric have produced for this model - they are replica Mini Lite (unless told otherwise) and the "hands" look great.

The detail also includes nuts, wheel mount nut and believe it or not!  a valve stem... 

So, here is wheel #2... 




MJk produce their high quality tyres for these wheels.... 


ok hope pix came through.... 

Work continues... turning 8 wheels and inserts.




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Nice work on the wheels. I bought some a few years ago but can’t recall of it was Pendle Slots or RS Slotracing that made wheels that small? 

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Great casting of the wheel inserts Rosco. Very "crisp", even, as you said , including the valve stem B)

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Thanks fella's. I was going to spray the inserts in SMS "Cold - Hyperchrome" over SMS "Jet Black" gloss - this comes up the closest I've ever seen to chrome - including the German Molotow.... and - the SMS version can be clear coated with their water based clear.

I have ditched that plan and after looking at some pix note that the Mini-Lite wheels on these cars and also the larger ones for MGB - were a bright satin finish aluminium... which is my new plan... 

To add a bit more to planned work on the chassis - Scalextric have taken a different approach to the front axle and guide arrangement for this car.

The model does not conform to proto-type in that it is rear wheel drive and the rubbish fitting of nylon bushes in holes that are way too big for them results in the axle "flopping" up and down, fore and aft on both sides... I have plans for that.

The front is entirely different to what I have seen before. I expect, due to the short length of the body and the necessary low detail of the radiator grille plus narrow width - they have done a little work on re-designing an axle/guide arrangement.

I'm not a racer - and have little understanding of how this altered front end will run... but, aesthetically - it works... there isn't any ugly guide protruding out of the front and cutting away the lovely detail of the front of this little model.

What they have done is to fit the guide pivot almost centre of where the axle would have run..... but, they have fitted two short "stub" axles on which the plastic wheels have been pressed on over knurling of the axle.... 

My intention, is to make a similar arrangement that I used with the T-53 Cooper chassis I built - but instead of using a common axle which was free to rotate, and wheels which were independently free to rotate on that - I will use two short stub axles with a similar arrangement.

I tap into the end of some Slot-It hollow tube hardened steel axles with a 10 BA thread... then fit a countesunk 10 BA screw.

The countersink head runs inside a similar countersunk bore I make in the end of the wheel using a small centering drill.

This allows me to push the insert in afterwards. To fit this to the chassis, with the T-53's - I soldered in a block to the centre of the chassis and drilled it for the axle to pass through - then drilled a vertical hole through this block and tapped it with an M2 thread.....

Allowing me to "lock" the axle when it was necessary to remove the wheels.... this works very well....

Drawing from that, I intend to do similar with the Mini - the factory stub axles run inside two moulded bosses in the plastic.... the inner one controls movement of a flange on the end of the axle - the outer one simply aligns the stub so the wheel runs true (well, that was their plan - but again - there's a lot of slop in there).

I can make use of the inner plastic boss of the chassis - and will drill down vertically and tap it M2.... with this little car, my "floating" axle won't apply - but, I can fit washers/shims between the outer boss and the hub of the wheel...... hence my decision to make the hub diameter of my wheels 5 mm.... to match the size of shims and washers I have in stock.

The M2 screw will hold the stub axle captive.. which will also allow me to position the track of the wheel on both sides.

Further, in the use of stub axles - it also affords me opportunity to mess around with camber - it may very well be that I trial ability to camber the angle of the tyre on the track... with a fractional raised outer which I believe will sit fully on corners, yet in a straight line - reduced drag when the small footprint of the inner tyre diameter should produce less drag.

I'd love to build a piano wire/brass chassis for one of these two - and stack it up with some good running gear - but, as the beginning of this thread explains - I am only building two so they can be used in competition with each other - and I pretty much want them both at a common performance level.....



It will be an "interesting" build - something that I have not yet done..... stub axles - let's see how it goes.... 

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